Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mobile Web Toolkit

mobile phoneMobile Web development requires a more abundant set of developer tools than its desktop counterpart. XHTML MP, Wireless CSS, and Mobile JavaScript are all more refined subsets compared to their desktop predecessors. In addition, the Mobile Web offers many new challenges. In particular, device fragmentation and browser inconsistencies will always wreak havoc within this ecosystem. Great tools can help overcome these challenges. Here are a few:

Validating Mobile Sites

How valid is your Mobile Web Site? Find out with these awesome validators. These validators will grade and offer best practice solutions to achieve a more compliant Mobile site. These are also valuable tools for a code review!

Mobile Web Best Practices

Both validators above evaluate mobile sites based upon standards and best practices. Their best practice and standards documentation can be found here:

Device Databases

Device databases simplify device detection. This helps facilitate content adaptation for specific device groupings (smartphones, featurephones, screen size, OS, JavaScript/AJAX support, is wireless, is touchscreen, etc.). For example, Bank of America and Amazon tailor content based on several of these groupings.

XHTML Mobile Profile

XHTML MP is the standard markup language for the Mobile Web. Unlike HTML and XHTML, XHTML-MP is featurephone compatible, it is less likely to be transcoded for optimization, and it supports the mobile-optimized Wireless CSS and Mobile JavaScript features. For additional XHTML MP 1.2 features refer to OMA's specification document.

Firefox Add-ons

The following Firefox add-ons are very powerful tools for testing and developing:

Device Testing Solutions

The ideal testing solution is to test on the physical device. Two virtual device testing solutions exist:

JavaScript & AJAX Compatibility

When device testing is not always feasible, the compatibility tables generated by Peter-Paul Koch are a good alternative. If you need assistance identifying JavaScript compatibility across browsers or devices these tables can definitely help:

CSS Compatibility

If you need assistance identifying CSS compatibility across browsers or devices these tables exit too:

Web Widgets

Web Widgets will allow Mobile Web developers to take advantage of native phone features. The subset is limited but it is a start: Device APIs and Policy Working Group

Book Resources

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